Jonathan Miller

Jonathan Miller

Jonathan Miller, who lives near Montpellier, is the author of ‘France, a Nation on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown’ (Gibson Square). His Twitter handle is: @lefoudubaron

Is Napoleon anti-French?

The English director Ridley Scott has certainly produced a massive irritation to French amour-propre. Over the weekend, he said that criticism of his film Napoleon proved that the French ‘don’t even like themselves’. Whether Napoleon is a masterpiece is yet to be determined (it isn’t released until Wednesday) but opinion is already divided. As if the

After 25 years, I’ve returned to synagogue

On Saturday, I went to the synagogue in Béziers. I was motivated by defiance, sentiment, and an urge to demonstrate solidarity, but hardly from any rekindled religiosity. I’ve never had any to be rekindled. Like my namesake, the late Dr Jonathan Miller, said in Beyond the Fringe, ‘I’m not really a Jew… but I’m Jew-ish;

Subsidies have defanged the French media

It’s not surprising that much mainstream French journalism is complacent, incurious and stenographic. The elite French media is lavishly subsidised and the torrent of handouts makes tenuous any claim that mainstream French journalism is independent. The most compromised are the broadcasters. Indeed there’s little pretence that they offer more than token auditing of the government. Three

The campaign to destroy the French GB News

The campaign to destroy GB News in Britain is precisely mirrored by a campaign to eliminate CNEWS, its French equivalent. The French political and media establishment would dearly like to shut down CNEWS which has overtaken #BFMTV (ipso facto BF Macron TV) as the most watched news station here. The campaign against CNEWS is intensifying

Macron’s political relaunch was a masterclass in self-belief

After months of inbound slings and arrows, Emmanuel Macron, powdered by the star dust of the royal visit, relaunched himself on Sunday night. His presidential address from the Elysée Palace was officially described as an interview but the French journalists who were on set posing the questions were purely props. The star of the show

Jonathan Miller

I’ve abandoned my useless British passport

‘Vous êtes anglais, je suppose?’ A question frequently posed to me in France. To which I reply: ‘C’est compliqué.’ To be honest, I’m not sure. If one passport is good, two are better. I have three. Crise d’identité. In France, I am Irish, thanks to my grandmother, born in County Antrim. In Canada, I am

Starmer’s Paris trip is based on a fantasy

One small trip on the Eurostar for Keir Starmer is one giant kick in the teeth for Rishi Sunak.   The Labour leader’s Grand Tour today descended on Paris, after his trips last week to Canada, where he was received by Justin Trudeau, and the Hague, where the prime minister in waiting consulted Europol, the

French healthcare makes the NHS look like Bedlam

French healthcare has its problems but it makes the NHS look like Bedlam. Recently my GP here thought it would be a good idea for me to visit the radiologist to take a look at my non-performing thyroid gland. I made the booking online using an app called Doctolib. An appointment was available in a

Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic problem

Ladies and gentlemen, please make sure your seat belt is securely fastened and your seat backs and tray tables are in their full upright position. Richard Branson will this week once again blast his Virgin rocket ship into space. Although not really, because at best his sub-orbital ship will only get to the edge of

Nicolas Sarkozy’s Russia intervention is a disgrace

Team Putin has this week gained a new and vaguely prominent supporter: Nicolas Sarkozy, the disgraced former President of France.  French politicians do not have a reputation for ethical probity but Sarkozy takes the gateau Most sensible people here are on vacation and political news is thin so a pro-Moscow declaration of Sarko, in an

In defence of private jets

Barbara Amiel was right that one private jet isn’t enough. One jet is always in the wrong place, or undergoing maintenance, or perhaps these days being attacked by eco-activists. So two is the absolute minimum.  Needless to say, the very idea of private jets sends environmentalists insane. Just last week, Just Stop Oil types attacked private jets

Why Europe riots

Montpellier A spectre is haunting Europe. In France, Sweden, Germany, Belgium and even Switzerland, the rule of law is being challenged by the rule of gangs. Disaffected young people cut off from society feel nothing but nihilistic contempt for it. Higher temperatures and social media are creating a heated summer. Judging from recent events in

My dog has been cancelled by Pride

Bella is a three-year-old dog of indeterminate breed. I found her by the side of the road.  She is fearless, affectionate and cute, like many dogs, but her place in history is assured because as far as I can tell, she is the first dog in history to have been cancelled for failure to kowtow

Macron’s last adventure: the President vs the public

36 min listen

On the podcast: In his cover piece for the magazine, journalist Jonathan Miller argues that President Macron is pitting himself against the people by refusing to back down from his plans to raise the age of retirement. He is joined by regular Coffee House contributor Gavin Mortimer, to ask whether this could be Macron’s last

Macron’s last adventure: the President vs the public

Montpellier Every generation or so, French politics is decided on the streets. The May 1968 unrest in Paris spread worldwide; Jacques Chirac’s welfare reform agenda was ended with the 1995 disturbances. The spirit of revolt is so alive in French society that a special police force exists for such occasions, specialising in crowd control. Now

Napoleon III’s remains will not be returned to France

Do not take too seriously the demand of Roger Karoutchi, a Républicain who rejoices in the title of deputy speaker of the French Senate, that the mortal remains of Napoleon III, the last Emperor of France, be repatriated from Farnborough, in Hampshire, where they have lain in an immense sarcophagus since 1879, to Metropolitan France itself.

Macron’s trip to Washington is pure theatre

President Macron has landed in Washington with his fleet of jets to spend the next few days in procession across the capital with an enormous entourage in attendance. ‘It is unclear to many of us why Macron gets Biden’s first state visit,’ says my man in the Washington punditry. ‘Also unclear why Mme and I

Why I’m giving electric cars a second chance

In April 2021 I wrote a piece for The Spectator which became the most-read article I have ever had published here. It began with the words: ‘I bought an electric car and wish I hadn’t.’ It was the story of my ill-judged decision to get a Hyundai Kona Electric. I had hoped to use it

The EU’s galactically bad space programme

Europe is lost in space. Ever since the Soviets orbited Yuri Gagarin and America landed men on the moon, Europe has proclaimed the ambition to compete on the final frontier. More than half a century later, Europe is unable to compete even with India, as in October it became incapable of launching its own payloads